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Article

ET, Phone My Home (Please)

One night in August 1993, Kelly Cahill awakens from a lapse of unconsciousness, unable to recall the events that had taken place just minutes beforehand. Her life was about to change forever. On a night some 29 years later, mostly untouched by the story of Kelly Cahill and her legacy, I sit watching ‘Paul’ with my mum, pondering what my dad has always told me about the extra-terrestrial happenings in the area in which we live, and yet feeling entirely detached from it.

Content Warnings: implications of assault, mentions pregnancy and miscarriage.

 

One night in August 1993, Kelly Cahill awakens from a lapse of unconsciousness, unable to recall the events that had taken place just minutes beforehand. Her life was about to change forever.

On a night some 29 years later, mostly untouched by the story of Kelly Cahill and her legacy, I sit watching ‘Paul’ with my mum, pondering what my dad has always told me about the extra-terrestrial happenings in the area in which we live, and yet feeling entirely detached from it. 

For a large part of my nineteen-year existence, I have lived in Victoria’s City of Casey, an area home to both the quintessential Berwick brunch and the inspiration behind Kath and Kim’s “Fountain Lakes.” I have lived in Narre Warren, Berwick, Botanic Ridge and now Harkaway, making my rounds through the area and yet missing out on what I now believe is the area’s coolest quirk (although I am quite partial to a nice brunch myself): the UFO sightings. 

As my dad informed me, and a claim I have also backed up by online sources, the City of Casey is regarded as Victoria’s UFO (unidentified flying object) sighting hotspot. As far as sightings go, the large City of Casey has had 17 in the last 10 years alone, according to the Only Melbourne UFO Sighting Reports. From Kelly Cahill’s chilling story of abduction and missing time in Narre Warren, to the frighteningly regular sightings of mysterious luminous disks in the Cranbourne skies, it’s safe to say Casey’s UFO sighting scene is triggering the most severe FOMO I’ve ever experienced, and it’s a marvel in itself that I’ve remained so clueless for so long.

Now, the extent of my alien knowledge is limited, stemming only from films and books. Although I’m certainly not the world’s biggest science fiction fan, I’ve shed my fair share of tears watching E.T. and I’ve read Hank Green’s An Absolutely Remarkable Thing, so that has to count for something, right? Anthony Goodall, host of the podcast Encounters Down Under, may know a little more about the topic. Although he too has enjoyed the odd science fiction film (his favourite being the Men in Black franchise), it’s safe to say that if I want to better my chances at experiencing my own sighting and feeling like a true Casey local once and for all, Anthony might just be the man to help.

Since his father’s sighting when he was a child, Anthony followed a rich curiosity to learn the truth behind the UFO sightings he heard of so regularly, a longing he feared may never be satisfied. Despite having now had two sightings, Anthony remains uncertain of the facts surrounding his claims, preferring to consider them as “something that makes you question what could have possibly been.” In this way, Anthony remains a realist, something I think I would struggle to sustain if I was the host of such a show. A grounded realist is definitely not something I would describe myself as, and I think I have my share of dream journals to show for it. But it’s Anthony’s realism that gives such weight to his claims. It pains him to say that “when people send in footage or images of what they have captured, nine times out of 10 it is a misidentified object.”

So, what should we be looking out for if we want to exclude alternative possibilities in our sightings? I’ll be the first to admit that I can’t differentiate between a plane and a satellite in the night sky. 

According to Anthony, narrowing down the possibilities of sightings occurs through a process of elimination, by which they must first rule out likely explanations such as air crafts, drones, Mylar balloons, and so on. This process is then further narrowed down according to where the sighting took place, as they must consider factors such as cross-reference flight paths and International Space Station locations.

However, despite his realist attitude, Anthony maintains that all claims should be treated with the same respect and dignity, asking “why deny them the legitimacy of their encounter?”

Some research into the story of Kelly Cahill suggests that not everyone shares in Anthony’s compassionate views, as Cahill’s story lacked support, with even her friends perceiving her story as laughable and her then-husband refusing to publicly back her story. 

Cahill’s sighting took place in Narre Warren. It’s where I used to live, it’s where my grandparents live and, thinking about my grandparent’s quaint, quiet lifestyle, it’s certainly not my first thought for an alien encounter, particularly not one that is considered to be one of the most important cases in the world. 

Cahill’s story starts like many others, reporting an unidentified circular object with bright lights along its perimeter, much like the sightings that took place in Cranbourne in June of 2021 and July of 2020. However, unlike more recent local cases, Cahill’s object was grounded, appearing next to her car in a nearby paddock, and within it, she could make out “figures standing behind the portals”, as she wrote in her 1996 book Encounter. Perhaps most fearful were the figures’ thoughts Cahill claims to have heard, as she recalled one of the figures before her thinking, “let’s kill them.” After being knocked unconscious by the intensity of the energy forces surrounding her, Cahill awoke in her car, now a fair distance down the road, with no memory of the events that had taken place to get her there. It was as if the most recent aspects of her memory had been destroyed so as to never be recollected.  

According to Anthony, “Kelly Cahill's encounter expresses a common nature of other peoples’ sightings, particularly women, who have been abducted and nearly always have the same or similar experiences.” He says that these cases often involve abdominal and genital pain, with some women even expressing concerns that their abductions have resulted in lost pregnancies. Anthony said, “women I have spoken to regarding their abductions believe [the beings] are taking eggs and some have mentioned them even taking the foetus. The reason they believe this is because they felt the symptoms of a pregnancy or knew they were pregnant and had blood tests to confirm this, then weeks later there was no longer a pregnancy and no signs of a miscarry, with claims from doctors saying the body absorbed the embryo.”

Such concerns are similar to Cahill’s, who claimed to find unexplained marks on her body, including a wound below her belly button, and began experiencing regular stomach pains. However, unlike most cases, Cahill’s claim consisted of all the crucial elements to back up her story, including several independent witnesses, missing time (from her period of memory loss) and evidence. 

Whilst this extraordinary case took place just around the corner from me, unfortunately, Anthony believes this does not improve my chances of a similarly cool (though perhaps less terrifying) sighting, believing that it’s more a case of “right place, right time,” and the City of Casey may not always be that place. 

So even though I live in Victoria’s UFO sighting hotspot, it appears my chances are, unfortunately, no better than anyone else’s. Anthony’s advice: just keep looking up.

Maybe it’s time I borrow my neighbour’s telescope.

 
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